by Toni Nagy
Ever since my daughter Adelia was born she has been practicing yoga with me. Well if you call flailing around on your back and demanding a boob in your mouth every 20 minutes yoga – but at least she was in “happy baby” pose. I guess it would be more accurate to say that my child has been living her life in tandem with my yoga practice.
After giving birth I waited exactly a week before returning to my practice. Since that fateful Friday morning, my daughter has had to tolerate, accept or participate with her mommy doing yoga. Although it may not be the most focused, or without interruption, there was nothing like my infant vomiting breast milk on my mat and now as a toddler poking my butt while I’m in a bound lotus shoulderstand to help me realize how much more than the poses yoga has to teach me.
We have fun together during our sessions. Often times she wants to “help,” which usually consists of her getting in my way and hanging off my legs. If I am in a headstand she thinks this is the best time to hug or stare in my eyes while telling me how her baby doll doesn’t like popcorn and thinks spiders should dance, but only in the summer. She also does respect that yoga is important to me, and more often than not, gives me my time.
Integrating Adelia into my practice transformed me as a person. I started to realize that yoga didn’t have to be this thing I completed in an hour and a half with x number of poses and y minutes of meditation. It could be more free form and flowing. I didn’t have to hold onto this rigid definition, but could relax into it. I now see that my approach in the past was forceful and too serious. I was overlooking the joy. And in many ways, this also applied to my life. There is nothing like my little girl asking, “mamma, do you want to fart together” to remind me to laugh.
Toni Nagy writes for Huffington Post, Salon, Alternet, and her own blog www.tonibologna.com
This post is part of a 4-part Mother’s Day series “You know you’re a yoga mom when…” Read the other posts:
Top 10 Signs You Are a Yogini Mother (Of Furry or Human Elves) by Nancy Alder
Tales of a Bendy Mama: Life On and Off the Mat as a Yoga Teaching Mutha by Sarah Wells Kohl
Lessons from the First Year of a First-Time Yoga Mom by Erica Rodefer Winters
This so resonates with me – my two year old get desperately concerned whenever I’m in handstand and grabs my arms to “help me up”. She can cobra with the best of them, though, so there’s hope for her yet.
I started bringing my daughter to my Ashtanga led primary series class about a month ago. She is seven (I only came to yoga about two years ago). I naturally cleared it with the teacher first. My daughter didn’t last the whole session (obviously) and when I approached the teacher after a few sessions, she commented that the presence of a child in the room actually gave an example to others to remember the lighter side of their practice.
Additionally, it dawned on me that my daughter is not likely to be a star ballerina or an Olympic-gymnast. But yoga is something that can last her a lifetime. So while most of her peers go to those activities, I have an added benefit because I also get to have some father-daughter time with her because we can practice together. Which is a blessing, because I find the balance beam more intimidating than Sirsasana.